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Even though an ex-client waives his attorney-client privilege when he asserts fraud and malpractice affirmative defenses to a suit by his former attorneys for their fees, when those defenses are withdrawn, the privilege is not still waived, a state judge in Manhattan has ruled.

Despite holding that the privilege can be revived, Justice Louis B. York found Feb. 7 that “John Doe’s” attorney-client privilege was still suspended — despite his withdrawal of his affirmative defenses to the “XYZ Law Firm’s” suit for nearly $400,000 in fees — because disclosure of some privileged matter was necessary to prove the firm’s claim for fees. The judge changed the names of the parties to avoid disclosure of the former client’s identity in XYZ Law Firm v. John Doe, 602092/97, filed in Supreme Court, New York County, IA Part 2.

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